HOLY TRINITY: Deut 4:32-34, 39-40; Rom 8:14-17; Mt 28:16-20
A time killer struck up a conversation with a priest. "Father, I believe only what I can understand. So, I can't buy your Trinity. Perhaps you can explain it to me." The priest reluctantly put down the news paper and started. "Do you see the sun out there?" "Yup." "OK, it's 80 million miles away from us right now. The rays coming through the window," said the priest, "are coming from the sun. The delightful heat we are enjoying on our bodies right now come from a combination of the sun and its rays. Do you understand that?" The fellow answered, "Sure, padre." "The Trinity," the priest went on, "is like that. God the Father is that blazing sun. The Son is the rays He sends down to us. Then both combine to send us the Holy Spirit who is the heat. If you understand the workings of the sun, its rays, and heat, why do you have difficulty believing the Trinity?"
Like this man we may not be able to understand the mystery of the Trinity. But we can describe the mystery, in the words of the Athanasian Creed: "the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God." Jesus knew very well that the disciples and his listeners were not able to understand the meaning of his message. Jesus expressed it by saying: "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now." Jesus revealed himself to the people gradually and as understandable to them. First He taught them to recognize in Himself the Eternal Son of God. When His ministry was drawing to a close, He promised that the Father would send another Divine Person, the Holy Spirit, in His place. Finally after His Resurrection, He revealed the doctrine in explicit terms, bidding them "go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost " (Mt.28:18).
Since Yahweh, the God of Israel, was careful to protect His Chosen People from the pagan practice of worshipping several gods, the Old Testament books give only indirect and passing references to the Trinity, and the Jewish rabbis never understood them as references to the Holy Trinity. Genesis 1:26 presents God speaking to Himself: "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness." Genesis 18:2 describes how Yahweh visited Abraham under the appearance of three men, an event that the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates as the “Trinitarian Experience of Abraham.” In Genesis 11:7, before punishing the proud builders of the Tower of Babel, God says, “Come, let Us go down among them and confuse their language.”These passages imply, rather than state, the doctrine of the Trinity.
All the official prayers of the Church, including the Holy Mass and the Sacraments, begin with an address to the Holy Trinity: “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We are baptized, absolved of our sins and anointed in the name of the Blessed Trinity. Throughout the world, church bells ring three times a day inviting Christians to pray to God the Father (the Provider); God the Son (the Savior); and God the Holy Spirit (the Sanctifier). We bless ourselves with the Sign of the Cross invoking the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and we conclude our prayers glorifying the Holy Trinity, saying “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.” Therefore the Scripture and the liturgy point to and express our faith in the Holy Trinity.
The Trinity is actually the most practical of all Christian doctrines, because it reveals the meaning of our life. The importance of this doctrine lies in this: we are made in the image of God, therefore, the more we understand God the more we can understand ourselves. God does not exist in isolated individualism but in a community of relationships. Therefore man can live, grow and find fulfillment only in and through society. With this doctrine, God has revealed to us that he is not infinite loneliness, but infinite love, infinite relationship of self-giving. Richard of St. Victor, taught that for God to be truth, God had to be one; for God to be love, God had to be two; and for God to be joy, God had to be three.
We are created in love to be a community of loving persons, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are united in love. From the day of our Baptism, we have belonged to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Just as God is God only in a Trinitarian relationship, so we can be fully human only as one member of a relationship of three partners. The self needs to be in a horizontal relationship with all other people and in a vertical relationship with God. In that way our life becomes Trinitarian like that of God. : “I am a Christian insofar as I live in a relationship of love with God and other people.” Like God the Father, we are called upon to be productive and creative persons by contributing to the building up of the fabric of our family, our Church, our community and our nation. Like God the Son, we are called upon to reconcile, to be peacemakers, to put back together that which has been broken, to restore what has been shattered. Like God the Holy Spirit, it is our task to uncover and teach truth and to dispel ignorance.
As we honor the Holy Trinity today, let’s try to live like the Triune God through all our relationships. Praying for others means, making our relation with others uniting with God. Honoring and respecting others means honoring the temple of the trinity in the other. Let’s pray that God the Son lead us to the Father through the Spirit, to live with the Triune God forever in heaven.
Let’s make the prayer of St. Francis Xavier our own: “Most Holy Trinity, Who live in me, I praise You, I worship You, I adore You and I love You.” Amen.